Canada Shares UN Special Rapporteur’s Concerns on Iran

March 14, 2014 - Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird today issued the following statement regarding the report by Ahmed Shaheed, UN Special Rapporteur on the Situation of Human Rights in the Islamic Republic of Iran (see March 2014 Report of the Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in the Islamic Republic of Iran).

“Canada is dismayed by the long list of human rights concerns noted in the report, including arbitrary detentions, torture and mistreatment of detainees, persecution of ethnic minorities, lack of judicial independence and the execution of an estimated 1,539 people since 2011.

“The persistent persecution of the Bahá’ís in Iran is deeply disturbing. Christians also continue to experience difficulties, including, by disturbing report, a court sentencing Christians to lashes for drinking wine during communion.

“While Iran’s leaders present a moderate façade to the world, travelling internationally and hosting foreign trade delegations, the Iranian government continues to systematically violate the human rights of its own people.

“Canada continues to call on Iran to undertake real, concrete and lasting reforms. The people of Iran deserve to have their rights respected by their government and to be allowed to live in freedom and prosperity.”

A backgrounder follows.

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Backgrounder - March 2014 Report of the Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in the Islamic Republic of Iran

The latest report of Ahmed Shaheed, UN Special Rapporteur on the Situation of Human Rights in the Islamic Republic of Iran, clearly highlights the serious flaws in Iran’s justice system.

The report cites, among other things, the fact that there are at least 895 prisoners of conscience and political prisoners in Iranian jails. In detention, these prisoners are routinely subjected to various abuses, including beatings and psychological torment. Lawyers in Iran are intimidated and threatened and are themselves jailed for pursuing the legal defence of their clients.

The head of Iran’s judicial body in charge of human rights, Mohammad Javad Larijani, has asserted that the high rate of execution in Iran is a “great service to humanity.”